Any Covid-19 vaccine must be treated as a global public good

There are many interesting dimensions to the story. I am just an oncologist and have no passing idea about vaccine manufacture, global supply chains or even the question of access.

However, this led me to think about incremental innovation in radiation treatment delivery. We came a long way from Cobalts to the Linear accelerators and thence to modulation. However, from the initial proposal in the ’80s, it took over two decades to see profusion on Intensity modulation, and there are several countries where the radiation therapy facility is still missing.

Then there is manufacturing. Lack of diagnostics and PPE has exposed the flaws of a just-in-time system that builds in no redundancy. Vaccine capacity must be built up now, even if that means some of it will go to waste. Nor can existing capacity simply be given over to a putative Covid-19 vaccine. That could unwittingly unleash outbreaks of previously controlled diseases, such as mumps or rubella.

Manufacturing will also have to be dispersed geographically to ensure a vaccine can be deployed globally.

This should serve as a wake-up call for the rest of us to allow a profusion of technology for the greater common good and push for equitable access. Sadly, there is enough bickering about incentives in the developed part of the world while the rest of the areas don’t even have access to the therapies.

via Any Covid-19 vaccine must be treated as a global public good | Financial Times